2018 has been an interesting year for me but I think it can be summarised as “finding purpose.” For many of you that follow me, this year has really been all about that. After getting into a course that I now know is the field I want to work in, volunteering at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, opening up to my family about my sexuality, deconstructing themes of culture in the context of popular media, and collaborating with other creators, you’d think that I would say that this is the best year I’ve had ever. However, this year has also had some lows, leaving some projects behind, as well as breaking friendships. In saying that, I have learnt to manage my own expectations of self and of others, reflect more, and challenge myself with the goal of becoming better.
And now it’s time to thank a number of people who have been a wonderful support for me and vice versa. Firstly, to my newest group of friends that I’ve made through my degree. They are the most wonderfully supportive group of people, and seeing each one of them slowly grow into the counsellors they will become has been magnificent. I’d extend another thank you to the teaching team, who have facilitated this growth and exploration of our own insecurities and given us the opportunity to make mistakes with the goal of learning from them. Most importantly, thanks to Eunice, who has quickly become one of my closest friends. Having weekly post-class chats about life and our own understanding of ourselves has been a massive help, especially being my distraction on the day that I opened up to my family. I don’t think I could thank you enough for that but maybe coffee or bubble tea would suffice.
The second group of people I’d thank are Dom, Ranne, Arielle, and Gaven. I’ve known this salty, fiery group of people for almost six years now (except Gaven, but we’re basically there) but this year has brought so much change for each one of us, and I don’t know how we would’ve survived it without encouraging each other in amongst the mutual roasting. Having a group where you can talk about anything and everything (we really have no filter), and calling each other out on our own mistakes is something that I’ve come to value.
The last group I really have to thank are my kids: Brandon, Nick, Olivia, Anastasia, Jeimer, and Binaya. I really have just leaned into the Dad(dy) role in 2018 but as we know, it really makes sense. It’s odd to be an internet parent to 6 other young adults spread out all across Australia, but it’s an experience I don’t think others would say they have had or ever will get to have. Each one of them brings their own stories to share, and we’ve all grown together over the last 12 to 18 months we’ve known one another. Seeing each one of them go through things I’ve had to go through and imparting some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years and looking at where they apply them in their own lives is special. Even though there have definitely been times that I’ve had some frustrations with them at one point or another, I don’t know where I would be without them and the podcast. I can safely say that even if the podcast ends (which I hope isn’t in the near future), we’d still be this weird family of a gay dad with six kids aged between two and seven years younger than him. To my kids: I couldn’t have asked for a more diverse group of younger adults to learn to parent, give advice to, and support, even if you are all thousands of kilometres from me. Thanks for helping this single, slightly neurotic person become ever more understanding and compassionate. I love you all.
There are plenty of other people that have been there and shaped my life over the course of this year but these three groups of people I call my friends have had the most positive impact on my life. The support and encouragement we give to each other is something that I value.
What are my goals for 2019? I’d like to get the opportunity to work in the field — even if it’s an admin job. The door will at least be open. I’d also like to continue to get healthier, both physically and mentally. I don’t have a set goal in terms of weight loss, but going back through the last few years’ worth of selfies, I know that there’s a little more to go. I’ve always been a big guy, and I understand that being thin won’t necessarily bring me personal happiness, and I’m okay with that. We’ll get to a place where I’ll be my version of healthy soon enough. Mentally, I know there are some things I can’t shake, like burnout and situational anxiety, but I’ve learnt to pace myself with committing to things and having to prioritise my own health, even if it means taking time away from the family. Lastly, I’d like to go for a bit of a break interstate. Don’t know where, don’t know when, and don’t know how it’ll be funded, but if the opportunity arises, I’ll take it with open arms.
There will always be some uncertainty, even in well thought-out plans and strategies. It’s more about how we can adapt to change and overcome any barriers that are in the way. Who knows what will be in store? Maybe I’ll fall in love, hit that jackpot, and actually land that job. Whatever the case, I know that there are people who will continue to be there for me, and I’ll do my very best to do the same for them. I hope you, dear reader, have a similar group of people you can reach out to. If not, I hope they come to you very soon.